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Big 12 football officials are in good hands

by Berry Tramel Modified: July 12, 2011 at 7:25 pm •  Published: July 12, 2011

I've always had a problem with the accountability of officials. And still do, to some degree. If a 19-year-old quarterback can stand there and tell the world why he threw the ball to the other team, I don't know why a 49-year-old referee can't stand there and explain why a chop block suddenly gets called for the first time, in the 58th minute of a ballgame.

But Anderson has most definitely improved the transparency of Big 12 officiating. He's invited the media to his clinic. He's made himself readily available for inquiries, from both media and coaches. He comes clean on a variety of issues.

Like this. The new trend calling for officials to come down hard on hits to the head?

“We tell coaches, we're going to make some mistakes on this, but that's OK,” Anderson said. “Yeah, we're going to break some eggs. But we want those kinds of hits out of the game.”

Coaches might not like it, but they can't really argue that they haven't been warned. You've got to admire Anderson's forthrightness.

And it's not like the officials go out and make calls willy-nilly. They are heavily scrutinized by their evaluators.

Down to this. Call a major foul, like holding, and the official is required to report why he called it.

I sat in on a head linesman/line judge meeting. Byron Boston, an NFL line judge on Anderson's crew and the Southland's supervisor of officials, reported that Big 12, Mountain West and Southland line judges and head linesmen erred 313 times last season.

Sounds like a lot. Either an incorrect call or missed a penalty that should have been called.

But that averaged out between one and two a game. Per man, that's less than one missed call per game. Out of what, 180, 200 plays a game?

Truth is, Big 12 officiating is really good and getting better. I can't speak for any other league, but the Big 12 crews are solid. And in good hands.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at btramel@opubco.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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